Unilever taps growth on skincare brand takeover


LONDON • Unilever agreed to buy skincare brand Tatcha, which makes creams based on a foundation of green tea, rice and algae, seeking to ride a wave of demand for Asian-influenced cosmetics.

Tatcha, founded a decade ago in San Francisco, has an innovation centre in Japan.

The country’s skincare labels have been vying with South Korean brands for the attention of consumers looking for high-end alternatives to western brands.

A price wasn’t disclosed. Bryan Garnier estimates Tatcha’s 2018 sales of US$70 million (RM291.2 million).

The world’s largest cosmetics companies have been acquiring upstart brands in recent years as they search for the next big hit, often picking labels that attract younger, trendier shoppers.

Estee Lauder Cos acquired Becca, Rodin, Le Labo, Glamglow and Too Faced, while L’Oreal SA bought CeraVe, Atelier Cologne and It Cosmetics. Earlier this year, Unilever added Garancia to its line-up.

Under new CEO Alan Jope, Unilever has been snapping up niche labels in areas ranging from skincare, to healthy snacking. The Anglo-Dutch company, which also owns Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, has seen sales growth slow for mainstream brands. The shares were little changed in early London trading yesterday.

Prior to becoming CEO, Jope ran its personal care business, where he sought to boost profitability by assembling a division called Prestige with high-end skincare brands. — Bloomberg